Thursday, March 12, 2009

Friends Like These II

Hello, and welcome to another edition of "Friends Like These." As K is proving as elusive as Bernie Madoff's money, B and I had another chat which I felt worthy of repeating here. So here is the unedited and unrevised IM conversation, as only friends can have.

Today, B and I discuss: The Armed Forces

B (22:05:50): Will Ferrell's doing a gag thing where he plays George W. Bush interviewing George W. Bush on HBO. It's called "You're Welcome, America."

Me (22:14:17): I saw that.
Me (22:14:33): I don't know if it'll really be that funny.

B (22:15:00): We're going on 9 years of Bush jokes. How does that not get stale?

Me (22:15:56): Maybe this is the last hurrah.
Me (22:16:06): Then we can move on to Tracy Morgan impersonating Obama.

B (22:17:14): No, you can't make Obama jokes.
B (22:17:20): It's not permitted, he's black.
B (22:17:24): That's why no one does.

Me (22:17:38): Black . . . like a fox!
Me (22:17:48): Besides, it's okay if other black people do it.
Me (22:17:54): Using jokes written by white folk.

B (22:18:07): Other black people are too busy swinging on his nuts to make jokes about him.
B (22:18:18): Then again, most white people are too busy swinging on his nuts to WRITE jokes about him.
B (22:19:07): Then again, according to an online poll I read, 47% of the country are strongly dissatisfied with his first 50 days in office.
B (22:19:10): So I'm not alone.

Me (22:19:11): Well he has yet to make a serious gaffe.
Me (22:19:27): Really? I read his numbers as 65% are very pleased.

B (22:19:43): Yeah, I though so...
B (22:19:56): I was more than a little surprised when I read that poll, to be honest.

Me (22:19:59): The biggest thing yet was his thing where the people he chose as commerce secretary kept turning out to have unpaid taxes.
Me (22:20:15): Other than that he hasn't made a public mistake. Give it time.

B (22:20:31): Well, I think a lot of people are upset over the stem cell thing.

Me (22:20:42): That's different.

B (22:20:45): And some people are stupid enough to be upset that he hasn't fixed the economy yet.

Me (22:20:54): Doing something unpopular isn't the same as doing something funny.
Me (22:20:57): Honestly
Me (22:21:03): I think we should pay more attention to Biden.
Me (22:21:21): From what I understand he says hilarious things by mistake almost daily.

B (22:22:53): Yeah, but he's protected by Obama. You just can't make fun of anyone in the White House right now.

Me (22:23:05): Hmm.

B (22:23:09): Maybe some day we'll move far enough forward in race equality that you can make jokes about a black President, but for now...
B (22:23:13): That's just the way things are.

Me (22:23:24): It's like Tupac said man.
Me (22:23:34): And even though it seems heaven sent, we ain't ready to see a black President.

B (22:23:35): "I see no changes"?
B (22:23:46): That, too.

Me (22:23:53): Then he talked about the war on drugs and war in the Middle East.
Me (22:23:57): Man, life sure has changed since 1994.

B (22:25:01): Well, look at it this way: Things are WILDLY different from 1984.
B (22:25:55): The fear of nuclear annihilation is out of style, the Soviets are gone, and it's US locked in an endless battle with the Afghani insurgency.

Me (22:26:11): True. Back then we had a collapsing economy and skyrocketing deficits.
Me (22:26:46): We should probably just make peace with the Taliban.

B (22:27:03): Yeah. That's a great idea.

Me (22:27:10): I'm serious.

B (22:27:18): While we're at it, we should offer Bin Laden a Key to the City of New York.

Me (22:27:34): I'm saying we should have the Taliban fight al Qaeda for us.

B (22:27:46): Oh, well, if that's what you mean...
B (22:27:50): Then you're right.

Me (22:27:51): I'm positive we have more to offer them than continuing to harbor Bin Laden.

B (22:28:04): But, we're already doing that. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as you think.
B (22:28:13): Are you familiar with the U.S. Army's Special Forces at all?

Me (22:28:17): Sure.

B (22:28:27): That's EXACTLY what they do.
B (22:28:54): In movies, you see Navy SEALs doing commando raids and black ops and all that other exciting stuff. What the Army's Special Forces do is exactly what you're talking about.
B (22:29:21): They go out and develop relationships with indigenous people, train them on a variety of subjects and tactics, and guide them towards doing our fighting for us.
B (22:29:50): That's how we invaded Afghanistan. There was no major combat there becuase we dropped a Special Forces Group in there, they united the tribes, and showed THEM how to topple the government.
B (22:30:06): The problem is that towelheads are scumbags and can't be trusted.
B (22:30:09): It's in their DNA.

Me (22:30:14): Well, maybe we made a mistake.
Me (22:30:44): We didn't invade Pakistan and overthrow their government. We just made it clear it would not be to their advantage to harbor terrorists.
Me (22:30:52): Probably could've done the same with the Taliban.

B (22:31:29): Oh, that's brilliant! Look how well that worked with Pakistan!

Me (22:31:44): I'd say it worked out great.
Me (22:31:59): We fire missiles and actually push troops into their territory.
Me (22:32:01): What do they do?
Me (22:32:05): Complain about it.
Me (22:32:19): And then go away.

B (22:32:52): I feel that people like you and me should have no idea what our most elite forces are doing in regions like that.

Me (22:33:13): Yeah, there's probably something to that.

B (22:33:30): I think when we see an Al Qaeda training camp on sattelite, we don't ask permission to go in and destroy it. We drop ninjas in in the dead of night, kill everyone there, burn it down, and by the time the sun rises, no one has any idea what happens.
B (22:33:37): And when asked, we reply, "What ninjas?"

Me (22:33:49): Now THAT
Me (22:33:52): I completely agree with.

B (22:33:55): If I was in charge of defense, that's how I would fight wars.

Me (22:34:06): Indubitably.
Me (22:34:19): I think the best response we can have to terrorists is to terrorize them.
Me (22:34:28): Silently, efficiently, and completely.

B (22:34:37): At the same time, I also don't believe in the present practice of dropping smart bombs and shit. Air strikes mean attention.
B (22:34:47): You can actually trace the fragments of a bomb back to the U.S.
B (22:34:57): That's why we HAVE ninjas.

Me (22:35:06): When they get together for meetings and realize there's some faces missing, they have to know that it means they're never going to see those faces again.
Me (22:35:15): And be sweating about whether or not they'll be the ones missing next.

B (22:35:29): Exactly. The bad guys just DISAPPEAR.

Me (22:35:44): I'd do it. I'd send operatives into their homes at night if I could.
Me (22:35:58): There'd be no body, no message, no trace. They'd just be gone.

B (22:36:11): Exactly. That's how I'd fight wars in the future.
B (22:36:33): Even an open war. I wouldn't start out with air strikes and parking a carrier off the coast.

Me (22:36:34): Well when I'm elected I'll make you an official adviser.

B (22:36:55): Things would start blowing up inexplicable, military officials and political leaders would start disappearing.
B (22:37:16): And THEN, I'd have Green Berets start forming an underground to overthrow their own government.

Me (22:37:36): I'm for anything that min/maxes the casualties.
Me (22:38:03): By the time ground troops roll in it should be to accept their surrender.

B (22:39:36): Then again, I would also be reducing the ranks of "ground troops" to a fraction of their current numbers. That wouldn't be popular.
B (22:41:33): I feel I could do the job of the current roughly 2 million servicemen with about 100-200 thousand.

Me (22:41:48): That would be very, very, very unpopular.
Me (22:41:57): Donald Rumsfeld is just about the most reviled name in the armed forces.
Me (22:42:04): And he had a similar opinion.

B (22:44:00): Rumsfeld was an idiot.
B (22:45:06): The fact of the matter is that war is a completely different game these days.

Me (22:45:36): Or it should be, at least.
Me (22:45:43): People in command seem to be trying to play it the old way.

B (22:45:50): Exactly.
B (22:46:09): Like I said, I could have won Iraq in half the time, with a tenth of the personnel.

Me (22:46:33): With the ninja strategy?

B (22:47:01): The problem is that I don't believe in occupations or anything like that. I don't believe in operations-other-than-war, peacekeeping, humanitarian relief, nothing like that. The job of a military is to kill the enemies of its country with efficiency.

Me (22:47:20): I feel like there has to be a lot of pressure on the people in command - meaning the President and the Joint Chiefs, along with the military secretaries - have a lot of people to please.
Me (22:47:30): because they have*
Me (22:47:38): The public, their supporters, foreign governments.
Me (22:48:04): Plus a strong and sizable military is often pointed to as a deterrent to invasion or aggression.

B (22:48:14): The problem with today's military is that it's a conscript army.

Me (22:48:39): I don't think that means what you think it means.

B (22:48:40): Less than 10% of currently serving troops believe in their country or their mission or their duty. They're there to reap the benefits or becuase they couldn't do anythin else.
B (22:48:52): It means exactly what I think it means.

Me (22:48:56): Conscription is when you're drafted or impressed.
Me (22:49:01): We have a volunteer army.

B (22:49:25): I'm aware and despite the fact that our military is volunteer, the people we get are no better than draftees.

Me (22:49:55): Yeah, but can we seriously expect to ever build anything but?
Me (22:50:05): The armed forces are the people who get paid to put up their lives for our country.
Me (22:50:30): And in my experience, even if you don't believe in it at first, the group mentality does eventually breed a good deal of patriotism.
Me (22:50:56): But when you're making the choice of whether or not to go into the army and fight, kill, and die for a cause you may not believe in at the time
Me (22:51:00): or do ANYTHING else
Me (22:51:05): most people won't sign up.

B (22:51:17): That's the idea.
B (22:51:58): You narrow the field, make it more difficult to get in, extend the training period.
B (22:52:17): We don't need bullet sponges any more, this is a different world with a different set of skills.
B (22:52:38): Hoplite warfare is over.

Me (22:53:22): I think the numbers you'd be looking at if that happened would be drastically lower than even your best estimates.

B (22:53:29): That's even better.
B (22:53:44): You don't understand what my training program is all about.

Me (22:53:47): You're forgetting something terribly important in this assesment.

B (22:54:06): A single ninja (or rather, a pair) is more effective in modern warfare than a company of cannon fodder.

Me (22:54:22): The military is not in existence to kill our enemies. That's a secondary purpose that's never been used seriously prior to the second Gulf War (and they weren't even really our enemies).
Me (22:54:31): The military is here to defend the country in case we get attacked.

B (22:54:57): How do you defend the country?

Me (22:55:01): And revolutionizing our warfare for the sake of quickly infiltrating and destroying our enemy's capacity to make war
Me (22:55:08): does not protect civilians here at home if we're under attack.

B (22:55:23): Actually, it does.
B (22:55:57): I'm talking about a completely capable warfighting army, it's just that we don't need disposable infantry anymore.

Me (22:56:31): I understand what you're saying about combat in the field.

B (22:56:55): Let me put this to you another way:

Me (22:57:01): Though I disagree somewhat about airstrikes, I feel those are incredibly useful for taking out targets from a safe distance and hampering the enemy's ability to make war.

B (22:57:17): You're misunderstanding me.

Me (22:57:21): But I'm saying if the enemy lands an army in California, how do we respond?

B (22:57:46): I'm making points one at a time, not giving you the entire proposal for the new military all at once. That's VOLUMES of writing that I'm not doing now.
B (22:58:03): You can't just try to throw out other things that I haven't addressed yet because you can't find the whole in my current point. I'll get to all of that.
B (22:58:10): But believe me, I've thought this all out.
B (22:58:14): I believe in air strikes, too.
B (22:58:23): They have their place, they have their function.

Me (22:58:26): It just seems like the first question anyone would ask if it was proposed.

B (22:58:35): Now, for my reply:
B (22:59:40): Let's say, for the sake of argument, that the Mexicans invade California, to satisfy your criteria. What exactly do you think would happen if that were to happen tomorrow?
B (23:00:00): The majority of the troops in California are NOT combat personnel (something else I'm EXTREMELY against).
B (23:00:16): The ones that are are line soldiers. So, you're basically throwing our numbers against their numbers.

Me (23:00:20): You've made your feelings on support personnel clear.

B (23:00:46): You waste a lot of ammunition, a lot of people die on both sides. Even if you kill three to one, we will ALWAYS be outnumbered.
B (23:00:57): Now, what if you had 100 Navy SEALs.

Me (23:01:24): Now wait.

B (23:01:32): Elite military forces and commandoes are TRAINED to operate in smaller units and harass, ambush, and destory multiple times their number.

Me (23:01:54): Okay, so we're making that assumption.
Me (23:02:04): A bullet kills a SEAL as dead as the next guy.
Me (23:02:20): Plus you can demoralize them by clubbing their babies.

B (23:02:49): The advantage of these smaller units is their capabilities. They an employ ambush tactics while directing support fire (airstrikes and artillery) and other such things against the enemy.

Me (23:02:49): But your advantage calls for the SEAL team to be in place and ready to involve themselves in guerrila warfare.

B (23:03:32): Yes, a bullet does kill a SEAL just as easily, but they have training and tactics that make them harder to hit.

Me (23:03:36): If the Mexican invaders come to the normal ground troops who are in a base or other fortified position, they'll be at just as great a disadvantage as if they were facing SEALs.
Me (23:04:23): So if we're just putting two armies face-to-face in the field, I can somewhat see your point.

B (23:05:10): That's another thing.

Me (23:05:12): But that's assuming a lot about what our first response is going to be.

B (23:05:21): Our bases are not fortified.
B (23:05:43): There's nothing "Fort" about "Fort Shafter" or "Fort Dix" or any of those bases.
B (23:06:11): They've got chain link fences around them and CONTRACT security guards making minimum wage manning the gate.s

Me (23:06:38): I'm aware, but it's still a large area with thousands of armed soldiers with the greater familiarity of terrain and hundreds of places to hide and wait.
Me (23:07:46): As far as the business of invading other countries goes, I'm in total agreement with you.
Me (23:08:01): But I think defense of our own borders is a completely separate issue.

B (23:08:27): Military bases have nothing to do with defending our borders. Civilians do that, it's called the Customs and Border Protection agency.

Me (23:08:40): That's not what I meant and you know it.

B (23:08:41): And Border Patrol.
B (23:08:52): That's the point. YOu have no idea how these things are done.

Me (23:09:04): Uh

B (23:09:05): Hey, I gotta run, brb

Me (23:09:16): My family has been in the army since America has HAD an army.
Me (23:09:54): I've picked up a few things. You choosing to literally interpret "our borders" to mean "The border between the U.S. and Mexico and/or Canada" hardly reflects on MY knowledge.
Me (23:31:51): Well, I'm off to bed. We can pick this up again later.
Me (23:31:53): Night buddy.

B (23:32:32): Well, the bottom line is that our borders is a literal term, and that defending it is a military's job, not a civilian agency.
B (23:33:02): And if Mexico were to roll an army across the border now, CBP would make first contact.

Me (23:33:04): It's somewhat a tangent from what we were discussing, but okay.
Me (23:33:06): I can agree with that.

B (23:33:20): And it would be days before the Army were mobilized to counterattack.
B (23:34:15): My point is that, bottom line, if we were attacked tomorrow, our military is not ready to just turn around and defend the country. Your argument that my version of the military wouldn't do its job is flawed because THIS version of the military can't do it.

Me (23:34:45): Well that's a fair enough point, BUT

B (23:34:49): And I can assure you that my re-envisioning of the military would do a better job of it.
B (23:35:13): If you want to hear more about my vision for a next generation army, let me know.

Me (23:35:36): I still firmly believe that in order for this to really work there has to be a separation of offensive and defensive units.
Me (23:35:53): And that defensive should be considerably larger and trained specifically for the purpose of fighting within America itself.

B (23:36:28): There's not a separate offense and defense now.
B (23:36:31): Unless you count the national guard.
B (23:36:39): Whcih, again, would take days to mobilize.

Me (23:36:50): I didn't say there was.
Me (23:37:04): I'm talking about reorganization too.

B (23:39:01): Well, my reorganization invovles folding the CIA, CBP, BP, and a number of other agencies into the military.

Me (23:39:20): Yeah? Well MY reorganization involves wizards and flying tigers.
Me (23:40:04): What are you going to do when a wizard riding a flying tiger comes at you with a fully automatic sub-machinegun? Die in awe, that's what.

B (23:40:41): I'm sorry, are you saying that my idea is far-fetched?

Me (23:40:56): No, I thought we were playing "top this."
Me (23:41:44): Though many people probably would if you continue to use "ninja" as the term for special forces operatives.
Me (23:41:53): It's a very loaded term.

B (23:42:15): It's shorthand. Plus, I use it to convey an image.
B (23:42:52): Besides, frankly, that's what they are.

Me (23:43:08): I saw an episode of Mythbusters where a ninja literally caught an arrow out of the air.
Me (23:43:18): It took him like 7 or 8 tries, but once he got one he could do it every time after that.

B (23:44:43): I saw this thing on Fight Science where they proved that a ninja's balance and agility really are like a cat, and not one other martial arts master could do the things he could do.

Me (23:45:34): Fight Science?

B (23:46:49): Yeah. It's this show where they use a variety of equipment to test out the abilities of martial arts (and the fighters who use them). For example, to see which martial arts style hits the hardest, they have these experts hit a crash test dummy and see how much damage it would cause.
B (23:47:45): They found that the mhuy thai knee strike was the most powerful, striking with the force of a 35 mile per hour car crash.
B (23:47:55): Followed closely by the TKD spinning back kick.

Me (23:48:13): That's awesome.
Me (23:48:19): I've seen some pretty sick mhuy thai fighters.
Me (23:48:28): Have you heard of the show The Warrior?
Me (23:49:18): It's about a guy who travels around the world seeking weapons and fighters of the countries he goes to and challenging them.

B (23:50:42): I saw that before when it was called Human Weapon about these two dudes that would go around the world and learn fighting styles from different regions and then at the end of the week, they compete in a match.

Me (23:50:58): I remember that show.
Me (23:52:58): Alright, I should get to bed.

B (23:53:07): Pax.

Me (23:53:14): Peace dude.


Ozkirbas said...

In jest or not, anyone who says " The problem is that towelheads are scumbags and can't be trusted. It's in their DNA" rapidly begin to lose any form of credibility they may have for forming constructive opinions.

Dialectric said...


David Pratt said...

Yeah, B's a racist. He still knows a good deal about the military.